You know how there are certain things that you eat and you have to really chew them, and chew them, and chew them to get all that you can out of them. Well, that's how I find it is with scripture sometimes. I've been chewing on this morsel for a few days now and trying to find time to post but not finding time so just continuing to chew and finding so much more in it than I saw at first. ( I wonder should there be commas somewhere in that last sentence? :-) )
I've been skimming through different passages in the Bible trying to wrap my head around a few things, and get some background to some things, and so many other things have been jumping at me. I was skimming through 1 Samuel looking for some background on King Saul when I came across my latest little morsel.
1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way."
Some background: This is a part of Samuel's address at Saul's coronation. The people have asked for a king to lead them instead of just following God. God has told Samuel to do as they say and give them a king. Samuel thinks the people are crazy to want to have a king to follow instead of just following God and he actually has a discussion with God about that (1 Samuel 8 : 6) Anyway, God guides Samuel to anoint Saul as king and Samuel does so.
When I read this verse a few days ago I was struck by the idea that not praying for someone could be a sin against God. Samuel said "far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you". Samuel probably felt like washing his hands clean of this people and letting them go on their merry way, but he couldn't. He had to continue to pray for them or he would be sinning against God. I'm afraid I'm guilty of washing my hands clean sometimes and ceasing to pray. Forgive me, Lord.
The second part of the verse says "but I will teach you the good and the right way". There's so much packed into this little group of words and the more I chew on it the more I get out of it.
First of all that little word "but". Sometimes I'm guilty of just stopping at the praying part, but that's not enough. Samuel says, "I'll continue to pray, but I'll also continue to teach." Sometimes I stop the teaching and rely only on the praying. There are times when I think that is the right thing to do, but there also are times when it is important to keep teaching.
It's important, however, to temper our teaching with love. Kim's recent post on tough love speaks quite well to how to do that.
The second thing that struck me in this group of words is what is to be taught - "the good and the right way". The emphasis is on the good and the right, not the wrong. So many times I'm guilty of emphasing the wrong, though in an attempt to point to the right. I don't mean to give the highlight to the wrong, but that is what I do. I'm reminded of the illustration I've heard often that says that money handlers learn to identify counterfeit, not by studying the counterfeit but by studying the real thing. I need to be careful that much more time is spent on teaching the good and the right rather than condemning the bad and the wrong.
I've decided to take this verse as a challenge to me this year, especially in my homeschooling and parenting. I want to be faithful in prayer for my children and I want to also be faithful in teaching, and to be certain to be teaching the right things in the right way.
MMMMMMmmmmmm. That was a yummy morsel. :-)